Most of us know about the hazards of air pollution caused by automobiles and factories, but indoor air pollution can be just as much of a problem. Sources that diminish indoor air quality include pet dander, household products like cleaning solvents and air fresheners, mold, and gases like carbon monoxide and radon. And let’s not forget cigarette smoke, which is one of the most common pollutants.




“One of the most dangerous air pollutants is cigarette smoke,” said Summer Kirby, MD, a family practice physician at Memorial Medical Clinic in Ardmore. “Restricting smoking is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to create a healthier environment.”


Most of us know about the hazards of air pollution caused by automobiles and factories, but indoor air pollution can be just as much of a problem. Sources that diminish indoor air quality include pet dander, household products like cleaning solvents and air fresheners, mold, and gases like carbon monoxide and radon. And let’s not forget cigarette smoke, which is one of the most common pollutants.


“One of the most dangerous air pollutants is cigarette smoke,” said Summer Kirby, MD, a family practice physician at Memorial Medical Clinic in Ardmore. “Restricting smoking is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to create a healthier environment.” 

Breathing these contaminants can lead to an array of health problems, from eye, throat or skin irritation to headaches and breathing problems. In severe cases, they can also cause lung disease and cancer. According to the World Health Organization, indoor air pollutants cause 1.5 million deaths each year.


So breathe easy by improving the air quality in your home or office. Here are some tips to help you get started: 


• Reduce pet dander through frequent grooming. Don’t allow pets to sleep in the bedroom with anyone who has asthma or allergies.
• Choose window coverings that are easy to clean, like wood shades or blinds.
• Check household plants for mold. If the soil contains mold, repot the plants or move them outdoors.
• If possible, remove carpeting and replace with wood or tile flooring.
• Wash sheets and blankets in hot water to control dust mites.
• Eliminate smoking inside your house.
• Ensure your home’s air filters are checked and replaced regularly.
• Have your fireplace, wood stove or furnace inspected and have the flues cleaned prior to the heating season.
• Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
• Leaking gutters and roofs can lead to moisture buildup, and mold, inside your home. To prevent this, keep your gutters and roof clean.
• Chemicals found in air fresheners, toilet cleaners, mothballs and other deodorizing products can be harmful to your lungs. Use alternatives, like baking soda, which can absorb odors, rather than air fresheners. If cleaners must be used, use only very small amounts and ensure the area you’re working in is well-ventilated.
• Keep bathrooms and kitchens clean and dry.

Information provided by Mercy Memorial Health Center.